Skip to main content

Full text of "NightRider"

See other formats


gives to drink unto one oŁ these little ones a cup of cold
water in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he
shall in no wise lose his reward/ And she looked sort of
funny, so I said: ' Madam, I know I ain't so little, but then
your water ain't so cold either. And please pay my respects
to Mr. Sullins.' She was like all the Sullins women. They
marry a Sullins, and it's like a disease. It's catching. A
woman marries a Sullins and she's ruined for life. It's a
disease, like the clap. And by God, it's hereditary, too, and
all the children get it, because they're all Sullinses. Now, I
tell you-----"

Mr. Munn found that his mind was not following. And
the room was close and hot. Too much liquor, he thought,
and then wondered how many drinks he had had that even-
ing. Or not enough. He drained his glass, feeling the drink
revive him a little. Then the Senator poured another for
him, smiling at him, and Mr. Munn lifted it to his lips.
Captain Todd was talking now. He saw the Captain sitting
very erect in his chair and talking gravely to Mr. Christian.
Mr. Christian still stood on the rug in front of the hearth,
and his face and the great dome of his bald skull were a
single, deep, unvariegated crimson.

Much later they all went upstairs. Senator Tolliver
showed Mr. Munn to his room, wished him a pleasant rest,
and went off down the hall When Mr. Munn entered, and
closed the door as softly as possible behind him, the darkness
leaped suddenly at him, like a live thing, and clutched him.
In the total blackness he was aware only of a motion and a
drumming in his head: a motion like the lift and swing of
the horizon when one is at sea in a small boat, but all was
blackness, both sea and sky. What I hear is my own blood
beating in my head, he thought. He began to undress in the
dark room so as not to disturb May, letting the garments
fall to the floor at his feet. It was cold in the room, and he
was aware of the cold, but as knowledge, as it were, not as
sensation; and he thought of the snow, which must be falling
outside, as falling on naked flesh, coldly and with loving